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Councilmember Henderson's End-of-Year Wrap-Up

December 21, 2023


It is hard to believe 2023 is already coming to a close. As we enter 2024 and prepare for the legislative work ahead, let’s reflect on what happened this year.  

January to December 21 At-a-Glance: 

  • Number of hearings and roundtables held by the Committee on Health: 31
  • Number of bills marked up by the Committee on Health: 10 
  • Number of nominees approved by the Committee on Health: 24 
  • Amount of money approved in Health cluster in FY24 budget: $5.18 billion 
  • Number of bills introduced by Team Henderson overall (where we are chief introducer): 37 permanent, 5 emergency, 5 ceremonial, 3 Congressional Review Emergency, 1 Sense of the Council 
  • Number of Team Henderson bills with a hearing: 26 
  • Number of Team Henderson bills marked up: 9 
  • Number of Team Henderson bills passed by the Council: 13 
  • Number of Team Henderson bills folded into omnibus bills: 3 
  • Number of community meetings attended: 70+  
  • Number of constituent service cases completed: 130 

The rest of this edition of the newsletter goes further in-depth on all we worked on this year legislatively and in the budget. I’m extremely proud of what we got done and look forward to the work continuing in the new year. In addition to my Councilmember duties, I will also be serving as the new chair of the region’s Transportation Planning Board. Wishing you and yours peace and joy this holiday season and to the new year ahead!

In service,

Christina Henderson

Councilmember, At-Large

                                                                                                                 Councilmember Henderson’s 2023 Year-End Review

Supporting the District's School Communities 

  • I introduced the Out of School Time Special Education Inclusion and Standards Amendment Act of 2023 which would require the Deputy Mayor for Education to develop standards to ensure that students with special needs can participate in extracurricular programming. The Deputy Mayor for Education is independently incorporating similar principles into OST requirements and has been consulting with my office to advance our shared goals of equity and inclusion for all students.  
  • Feeding our residents has been a top priority for me, which is why I introduced the Universal Free School Meals Amendment Act of 2023, which would make all meals at DC public schools and participating private schools free for all students. Several states have passed similar provisions, and with the USDA’s recent modifications to the Community Eligibility Provision, the District’s portion of the cost is lower than initially expected. This bill received a hearing on November 30 and public testimony was overwhelmingly supportive. It is my hope to work with colleagues to fund these costs for the upcoming school year.  
  • Ensuring that students receive home or hospital instruction when they are unable to attend school is critical to their academic learning, which is why I introduced the Extended Students' Right to Home or Hospital Instruction Amendment Act of 2023. This legislation would make students who are experiencing health conditions such as pre-birth complications, childbirth, and postpartum recovery, eligible for home or hospital instruction after having previously been excluded. Following a November hearing at which all witnesses testified in support, this bill will be marked up by the Committee of the Whole in 2024. 
  • The District’s high school graduating class of 2022 left $2.7 million in Pell Grants on the table due to so few students having completed their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Universal Free Application for Federal Student Aid Graduation Requirement Act of 2023 would require students to file the application prior to receiving a high school diploma, ensuring that the District’s students have what they need to be able to take full advantage of the aid available to them as they enroll in post-secondary institutions following high school graduation. The Committee of the Whole held a hearing on this measure on November 30, and received helpful feedback from public and charter school leaders regarding implementation, and we expect that this bill will be marked up in January. 
  • Students attending college in the District should be certain of accruing benefits such as job security, exceptional networking opportunities, high earnings, and personal development, but for some students, experiencing sexual misconduct during their educational career is also highly likely. I introduced the Institution of Higher Education Sexual Misconduct Reporting and Resource Accessibility Act of 2023, which would help make the educational environments for students and personnel at the District’s institutions of higher education safer, and ensure that our institutions empower survivors to seek resources following any incident of sexual misconduct. This bill had a hearing on November 30, and it is my sincere hope that the Committee of the Whole will mark up this bill in 2024. 
  • Attracting and retaining passionate educators to teach in District schools is absolutely vital. The Student Loan Repayment Assistance for Educators Act of 2023 would establish a loan repayment assistance program for public school educators and help achieve this goal by alleviating the financial stress that so many of the District’s educators are under. Following a November hearing, I look forward to working with my colleagues to get this legislation passed and address the equity gaps in the financial burden that educators are required to take on to obtain degrees that are necessary to teach our students.  
  • I introduced the Common Sense School Transparency and Accountability Act of 2023, which seeks to address several issue areas in schools with common sense and rational solutions. For example, when a student is injured at school, this bill will ensure families get written documentation. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Council on this bill in the new year. 
  • Higher education is often priced as if it were a luxury good. This is nearly always true for low-income students who lack citizenship in the United States, which is why I introduced the DC ACHIEVES Establishment Act of 2023. This legislation requires that the Mayor establish a non-lapsing fund to support the DC ACHIEVES program. The program will provide grants to undocumented District students for tuition and non-tuition expenses not covered by other non-loan assistance.  
  • I also attended many Committee of the Whole hearings on education matters, including roundtables on Out of School Time, School Nurses and Vaccinations, Early Childhood Educator Equitable Compensation, DCPS Food Services Contracts, Teacher and Principal Retention, and Truancy, as well as agency performance and budget oversight hearings. These are urgent matters, and I’m committed to showing up and using my position as Chair of the Committee on Health to effect meaningful changes that enable our schools, teachers, and students to thrive. 

Enhancing Renters’ Protections  

  • The Fairness in Renting Clarification Amendment Act, which prohibits landlords from charging any fees beyond a maximum application fee and requires landlords to provide tenants with 60 days notice for rent increases beginning January 1, 2024, was approved by the full Council on Tuesday, September 19 and became official law on Friday, December 8.  
  • The District is experiencing climate change’s effects, which is why I introduced the Climatizing Our Overheated Living Spaces Amendment Act of 2023. This bill would require housing providers to make air conditioning available to renters sooner than the current May 15 deadline and, recognizing the increased energy usage required, would establish a Cooling Energy Offset program to provide grants and financing to owners of rental buildings subject to revised regulations to increase the energy efficiency and renewable energy-generating capacity of the buildings. The bill received a hearing in October, at which representatives from the Department of Buildings and the Department of Energy and the Environment provided helpful suggestions to address the limitations of older buildings and keep residents comfortable in their homes. 

Creating Accessible, Safe, Innovative Transportation Options 

  • In an effort to address transit safety, I introduced the ATE Enforcement Effectiveness Amendment Act of 2023, which would make traffic violations captured by an ATE system point-eligible, and the License Suspension Reform Amendment Act of 2023, which would suspend the license and registration of all vehicles owned by or registered in the name of any person charged with a DUI, with fleeing the scene of an accident, or of negligent homicide while driving. The Committee on Transportation included elements of these provisions in the STEER Amendment Act of 2023, which was marked up in early December and will move to the full Council in early 2024. These requirements will remove negligent and scofflaw drivers from our roadways and increase traffic safety for all drivers, bikers, and pedestrians in the District. 
  • In order to improve access to healthy and nutritious food options for underserved residents, I introduced the Food Access by Public Transit Study Amendment Act of 2023, which would require the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to conduct a study on public transportation access to grocery stores in neighborhoods where there are few food access points. DDOT would also be required to assess current transportation modes and routes used to travel to and from grocery stores. 
  • I also introduced the Leveraging Engagement in Transit Services for Greater Outcomes Amendment Act of 2023 which would require the Department of For-Hire Vehicles to prepare and publish an annual ridership report for its microtransit and paratransit programs. These alternative transit programs connect residents with housing, healthcare, and education services, and they primarily serve seniors, low-income veterans, and residents with disabilities who prefer to use on-demand, door-to-door transportation services. Data is one of the best tools at our disposal in understanding the impact of these programs, and data provides the foundation to sustain and grow them. 

Sustaining Safe, Vibrant Neighborhoods 

  • To address a gap in the law that made it impossible for retailers to sell and ship self-defense sprays such as pepper spray, I introduced and the Council passed the Self-Defense Spray Sale and Transfer Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2023. District residents can now purchase these products from Amazon, in stores, and have them delivered to their homes. The legislation was enacted on Friday, December 1.  
  • Increasing capacity at the Office of Unified Communications (OUC) and ensuring timely public safety responses is critical for a functioning public safety system, which is why I introduced the Retired Firefighter and Police Officer Redeployment Emergency Amendment Act of 2023, which allows retired firefighters and police officers to be rehired at the Office of Unified Communications as 911 call takers and dispatchers without resulting in decreases in their pension benefits, as typically occurs when retired District employees are rehired by the District government. This bill will put public servants with relevant expertise and knowledge acquired over decades on the front lines of emergency response into the heart of OUC operations. The legislation was approved by the full Council on Tuesday, December 5 at a Legislative Meeting. The Committee on Labor and Executive Administration will hold a hearing on a permanent version of this bill in early January 2024. 

Supporting our Economy and our Workers 

  • I introduced the Unlocking Housing at Metro Property Tax Exemption Amendment Act of 2023, which would accelerate development of much-needed mixed-use residential projects at unimproved District Metro stations. This bill would provide a 20-year tax exemption for projects meeting specific criteria with the goal of encouraging additional transit-oriented development through joint development agreements. Since WMATA’s inception, District leaders and residents have recognized the potential of integrating transit hubs with housing, retail, and other amenities, and have worked with WMATA to invest in the blocks around Metro stations. Many thriving neighborhoods in the District exist because we prioritized transit-oriented development. This bill can help facilitate amazing changes at the Anacostia, Congress Heights, Brookland, Deanwood, Fort Totten, and Friendship Heights stations, and I will push for this bill to move forward quickly. 
  • The provisions of my Fair Wage Amendment Act of 2023, which prohibit an employer from screening prospective employees based on their wage history or seeking the wage history of a prospective employee, were included in the Wage Transparency Omnibus Amendment Act of 2023, which will be enacted early next year. This law will minimize wage disparities for people who historically have been underpaid due to biases against age, race and gender. 
  • The Automatic Retirement Savings Amendment Act of 2023 would establish a Retirement Savings Board which would manage a universally available and voluntary Retirement Savings Program for employees of private businesses who are not offered a retirement plan through their workplace and for certain self-employed individuals. The program is designed to serve the employees of the small businesses who are unable to offer retirement savings accounts to employees due to the cost and administrative burden of maintaining them. These accounts would also be portable if a participating employee changes jobs, because the accounts would be managed by the District, not the employer. We know that too few people plan for retirement early in employment, which is why we need to use available government tools to make it easy for employees to prioritize their long-term financial security. 

Good Government 

  • To ensure that public servants are appropriately compensated for their time and expertise, I re-introduced the Commission on Public Compensation Amendment Act of 2023 to establish a new Commission that would periodically review the salaries and stipends offered to public officials who are elected, serving on boards and commissions, and independent agency heads. This bill had a hearing in June, and I look forward to the bill moving toward a markup next year. 
  • Faced with the prospect of another federal government shutdown, I introduced the Let Our Vows Endure Emergency Amendment Act of 2023 at the request of the Mayor, which would reassign the responsibility for officiating civil marriages from the Clerk of the Superior Court to the Mayor when the federal government is unfunded. The Council unanimously approved this common-sense and necessary fix, and one should be made permanent. 
  • We know that the District’s on-street parking regime disadvantages some residents. This is even more so the case following the redistricting process, which are based on Ward boundaries prior to the 2010 redistricting. I introduced the Residential Permit Parking Program Review Act of 2023, which requires DDOT to undertake a study of the District’s current program, with the goal of balancing on-street parking supply and demand throughout the city. 
  • To better monitor the District's assisted living facilities and increase public access to facility performance information, I introduced the Furthering Transparency in Assisted Living Residences Amendment Act of 2023. The Mayor must annually renew assisted living residences’ licensure, and must investigate allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation and submit to the Mayor a complaint investigation report. These reports have not been publicly available on the Department of Health’s website since 2020 and 2016, respectively. Both survey reports and complaint investigations are vital to improving performance, safety measures, and resident satisfaction within assisted living spaces. This bill was referred to the Committee on Health and I plan to hold a hearing soon.  
  • The Certificate of Assurance Repeal Amendment Act of 2023 would repeal a provision in the Rental Housing Act of 1985 that would entitle qualified housing providers to significant tax payouts if the Council passes laws that changes rent stabilization policies. which has had no impact on development in the District, and ties the hands of the Council in holistically addressing housing policy. This bill has been in effect as emergency legislation since 2020, and is a necessary revision to our housing laws that will benefit current and future residents. The Committee on Housing has committed to holding a hearing on this bill next year. 

                                                                                                                                              Health Committee Updates

I have been honored to serve as the Chair of the Committee on Health over this past year, and my team has been busy ensuring increased access to high-quality, affordable health care, addressing critical health care workforce shortages, and addressing the opioid and substance abuse crisis in the District. Over the course of the year, the Committee has hosted 31 Hearings and Roundtables, passed 10 bills, and confirmed 24 Mayoral nominees to health leadership positions. We look forward to continuing this work in 2024, addressing the multifaceted health needs and concerns of our community. Here are some of our key accomplishments this year: 

 The Opioid and Fentanyl Epidemic 

  • In September, the Committee introduced the Sense of the Council on the Opioid and Fentanyl Epidemic Resolution of 2023, calling on the Mayor to declare the opioid and fentanyl crisis in the District a public health emergency, recognizing its severe impact and the need for ample resources. The Council unanimously passed this Resolution on November 7, and subsequently the Mayor declared a Public Emergency related to the Opioid Crisis on November 13.  Declaring a public emergency mobilizes resources, improves coordination among agencies, and allows for data sharing to increase our response effectiveness.  
  • In October, the Committee passed B25-0244 - Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Amendment Act of 2023, which enhances the Director of DC Health's authority to share de-identified information from the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program for research, education, and public health surveillance. This will support increased research on controlled substance use and misuse, and improve patient safety. The Council passed the bill unanimously and it is currently awaiting signature by the Mayor.    
  • The Opioid Abatement and Advisory Commission, on which I serve, launched in October. This Commission oversees and directs funds from opioid litigation settlements and seeks community input on their utilization. Currently there is approximately $14 million to be disbursed. Serving on the Harm Reduction Subcommittee, I look forward to ensuring quick and strategic investments.  
  • In the FY 2024 budget, the Committee invested $600,000 to pilot the effectiveness of an influx of direct support, relationship development, and resource brokering for individuals in need of substance abuse and behavioral health services at three locations in Wards 1, 5, and 7. 

Youth Behavioral Health  

  • In the FY 2024 District Budget, the Committee invested $325,000 to address the gap in access to behavioral health services by investing in school-based behavioral health student peer educators. 
  • On December 6, we held a joint roundtable with the Committee on Facilities & Family Services on my bill Alternative Restorative Therapy (ART) Options for Youth Amendment Act of 2023 and heard from public and government witnesses about whether services and supports provided both CFSA and DBH are meeting the behavioral health needs of youth and families within the District's foster care system. 
  • On December 13, we held a joint roundtable with the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety and the Committee on Recreation, Libraries, and Youth Affairs to examine the connection between public safety and youth behavioral health in the District of Columbia, focusing on assessing and improving behavioral health services for youth up to age 26. It explored the effectiveness, availability, and accessibility of these services, emphasizing strategies for reducing youth involvement in violent crimes and fostering collaboration among agencies and community members for better youth well-being.  

Improving Perinatal, Maternal and Childhood Health  

  • In May, the Committee passed B25-0034 - Expanding Access to Fertility Treatment Amendment Act of 2023, which expands insurance coverage for fertility treatments, including diagnostics and medications for Medicaid recipients starting January 1, 2024, and for private insurance plans beginning January 1, 2025. The bill improves access to fertility care for all District residents, with a focus on promoting equity, especially for LGBTQ+ individuals, and includes provisions for preserving fertility for patients undergoing treatments like cancer therapy. This bill is now official law. 
  • In October, the Committee passed B25- 0226 - Access to Emergency Medications Amendment Act of 2023, which requires that schools in the District be equipped with undesignated emergency medications and have staff trained to administer them for medical emergencies. The legislation tasks DC Health with the development of a comprehensive emergency medication action plan that adapts to evolving health needs and available treatments. The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) will ensure school compliance. This bill was approved by the full Council and is currently awaiting signature by the Mayor.    
  • In December, the Committee and the full Council passed B25-0321 - Home Visiting Services Reimbursement Act of 2023, which mandates that Medicaid, the DC Healthcare Alliance, and the Immigrant Children’s Program provide coverage and reimbursement for evidence-based home visiting services starting January 1, 2025. Home visiting, a service where trained professionals offer health, social, and educational support to new or expecting parents and guardians, has been shown to have positive outcomes in child development and family welfare. This bill is still under Council review.    
  • In December, the Committee and the Council passed legislation I introduced, B25-0419 - Childhood Continuous Coverage Act of 2023, which ensures that children under the age of 6 who are enrolled in Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or the Immigrant Children’s Program retain their health insurance without the need for periodic redetermination. The bill eliminates the risk of coverage loss, thereby maintaining consistent healthcare access for children who are often at risk of health disparities. This bill is still under Council review.    
  • On December 14, the Committee on Health held a public oversight roundtable on Maternal and Infant Health in the District. This roundtable focused on issues like Medicaid coverage for doulas and midwives, transportation for prenatal appointments, and findings from relevant health studies and taskforces, with testimonies from agency representatives and experts. 

In the FY 2024 District Budget, the Committee on Health: 

  • Supported evidence-based home visiting for low-income, Medicaid eligible, first-time mothers through a grant of $225,000 to Department of Health Care Finance; 
  • Provided $400,000 for increased distribution of diapers, formula, and other essential supplies for infants through a grant to the DC Diaper Bank; 
  • Restored $2,000,000 for more consistent staffing at School Health Suites through the Children’s School Services; and 
  • Invested $822,367 to enhance healthy meals and nutrition education through school garden grants, nutrition education grants, and school cafeteria equipment and training grants 

COVID-19, Medicaid, and the DC Access System 

  • On May 4, the Committee on Health held a public roundtable on the End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. During the hearing, healthcare professionals, public health experts shared their experiences and expertise and the government witnesses presented on their plan for the Medicaid unwinding process. 
  • On September 11, the Committee on Health held a public roundtable on Medicaid Renewal and Redetermination. The purpose of the roundtable was to evaluate the Medicaid program's renewal process, including renewal outcomes, outreach efforts, the involvement of Medicaid Managed Care Organizations and healthcare providers, and updates on the District's unwinding plan since its resumption on April 1, 2023.  
  • On December 4, the Committee on Health held a joint roundtable with the Committee on Housing regarding challenges faced by District residents in enrolling for health and social services benefits through DCAS (District Direct), a web-based application designed to streamline applications and recertification of SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid programs. Despite its intention to simplify processes, there are ongoing concerns about the software's performance after over a decade of implementation. 

Improving Access to Critical Health Care and Services 

  • In May, the Committee passed B25-0141 - Copay Accumulator Amendment Act of 2023, which requires that insurance companies count any third-party payments made towards a patient's prescription drug copay as if they were made by the patient, thus prohibiting copay accumulator programs. This ensures that patients can reach their deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums sooner, potentially lowering their overall healthcare expenses and preventing pharmaceutical companies from using patient assistance programs to artificially keep patients on more expensive branded drugs when generics or biosimilars are available. This bill is now official law. 
  • In September, the Committee passed B25-0124 - Prior Authorization Reform Amendment Act of 2023, which streamlines the prior authorization process for healthcare services, setting strict decision timelines, enhancing transparency of authorization requirements and denial rates, ensuring reviewers' qualifications, and forbidding cost-only based authorization denials. It also includes provisions for continuity of care during insurance plan changes, aiming to prevent unnecessary delays or denials of needed health services. This bill is projected to become law February 1, 2024.   
  • In September, the Committee passed B25-0073 - Ambulatory Surgical Facility Amendment Act of 2023, which updates relevant definitions for ambulatory surgical facilities (ASFs), eliminates the outdated requirement for DC Health to list all procedures exclusive to ASFs in regulations, and clarifies the definition of generally non-invasive procedures. This bill responds to the evolution of medical treatments and surgical techniques, aiming to streamline the regulation process that has been stalled since 1985. This bill is projected to become law February 1, 2024.    
  • In December, the Committee and the full Council passed B25-0463 - Minor Access to Medical Records and Appointments Regulations Amendment Act of 2023: This bill enhances the privacy of minors aged 16 and over and promotes their autonomy in seeking primary healthcare services by allowing them to independently access their medical records and schedule appointments. This bill focuses on supporting minors who are homeless or in foster care, and is tailored to those enrolled in Medicaid or the DC Health Care Alliance. This bill is still under Council review.    

In the FY 2024 District Budget the Committee: 

  • Ensured on-time completion and opening of Cedar Hill Regional Medical Center in Ward 8 by approving a $10,000,000 accelerated investment in the hospital;  
  • Expanded access to diagnosis and treatment of infertility by providing $750,000 in local funds, with $940,000 in federal matching funds, to implement the Expanding Access to Fertility Treatment Amendment Act of 2023, which would expand Medicaid and Alliance coverage for the diagnosis and medication treatment of infertility and fund the study of expanding coverage to IVF and fertility preservation services; 
  • Provided critical animal rescue and animal control services for the District by restoring $2,000,000 for the Animal Care and Control contract; 
  • Approved a $300,000 enhancement for senior dental services; 
  • Ensured individuals with HIV/AIDS or cancer have stable housing and appropriate medical care by restoring a $250,000 grant to Joseph’s House to provide nursing care and housing support to individuals critically ill with HIV/AIDS or cancer; and  
  • Invested $170,000 to require dementia training for direct care workers, implementing the Dementia Training for Direct Care Workers Act of 2019  

Strengthening the Public Health Workforce 

  • In September, the Committee passed B25-0312 - Health Professional Licensing Boards Residency Requirement Amendment Act of 2023. This bill modifies the residency requirements for members of the District’s Health Professional Licensing Boards, reducing the requirement from 100% to 50% District residents for professional members. This will help to address the high vacancy rates on Boards by broadening the pool of potential members. The bill includes additional eligibility criteria for non-resident members, ensuring continued commitment to serving and protecting the health and wellbeing of District residents. This bill is projected to be transmitted to Congress for review on February 7, 2024.    

In the FY2024 District Budget, the Committee on Health: 

  • Increased the pipeline of talented healthcare professionals in the District by allocating $1,419,000 to fund L24-0313, the High Need Healthcare Career Scholarship and Health Professional Loan Repayment Program Amendment Act of 2022, thereby creating a High Need Healthcare Career Scholarship and Supports program and adding one FTE to implement the program; 
  • Enhanced the licensing process for healthcare professionals by restoring 2.25 FTEs to the Health Licensing Professional Boards Division at DC Health 
  • Increased critical food safety inspections for restaurants, cafeterias, and other food establishments in the District by providing 3 FTEs to the Food Safety Division at DC Health, including staff to implement B25-0068, the Street Vendor Advancement Amendment Act of 2023, which creates a new Microenterprise Home Kitchens permit for small businesses making prepared food in their homes. 

  • In December, the Committee held a hearing on B25-0545 - Health Occupations Revision General Amendment Act of 2023, a comprehensive update of the scopes of practice, Boards, and disciplinary guidelines that govern health professionals in the District. We heard from more than 70 public witnesses, as well as DC Health, over the 7-hour hearing and look forward to working with stakeholders to craft the Committee Print of the bill which the Committee will vote on in the spring. 
  • Additionally, the Committee approved the Confirmation of 24 Mayoral nominees to Boards that provide strategy and oversight for a wide range of health professionals and topics in the District: Board of Medicine, Board of Dentistry, Board of Optometry, Board of Psychology, Food Policy Council, Board of Physical Therapy, Board of Veterinary Medicine, Board of Occupational Therapy, Board of Marriage and Family Therapy, Health Benefit Exchange Authority Executive Board.

Addressing the Social Determinants of Health 

  • Last year, the Council passed the Give SNAP A Raise Amendment Act of 2022, which would provide a locally-funded 10% increase to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients, recognizing the positive impact of the COVID-related federal increases had on District residents’ food security, and the struggles residents face following the termination of the supplemental funds. In the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Support Act of 2023, the Council included language directing the Mayor to implement a locally funded increase in SNAP benefits between January 1, 2024, and September 30, 2024 if sufficient excess funds were available to fund the increase based on the September 2023 revenue estimate. On September 30, 2023, the OCFO released the September revenue estimate and certified that there was sufficient excess revenue to move forward with the SNAP increase. Since then, the Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services and the Department of Human Services Director reported they have no intention of preparing to administer the SNAP increase in January, and that they intend to redirect the funds to other Executive priorities. Last week, I and all 12 of my Council colleagues sent a letter to the Mayor urging her to reconsider this decision. Food access should always be at the top of our priority list. With rising food costs, our residents need this boost. I am committed to using all available tools to get this SNAP increase to the people as the law requires. 

In the FY2024 District Budget, the Committee on Health: 

  • Increased access to healthy food by investing $375,000 for the Healthy Food Access Grants at DC Health, including: $150,000 for the Healthy Corners Program; $25,000 for Home Delivered Meals; and $200,000 for Produce Plus, Additionally the Committee approved the Mayor’s proposed enhancement of $324,066 for Joyful Food Market; 
  • Encouraged activity and independence for individuals living in Assisted Living Facilities and Certified Residential Facilities by allocating $269,280 for a $30 increase of personal needs allowances (PNAs) to cover personal expenses; 
  • Encouraged increased medical respite care for individuals experiencing homelessness by providing $55,000 to the Department of Health Care Finance to produce a report on opportunities to expand Medicaid coverage for medical respite care; 
  • Assisted low-income tenants remain in their homes by transferring $500,000 to the Committee on Housing to restore the Emergency Rental Assistance Program; 
  • Restored critical funding for public libraries, which serve as cultural and resource centers for District residents, by restoring $433,410 for the DC Public Library Revenue Generating Fund for featured author, musical, and other cultural events as well as exhibitions primarily at the MLK Library thus attracting individuals downtown, and $629,442 for custodial maintenance for DC Public Library for regular cleaning, pest control, and landscape services at all branch locations; 
  • Enhanced Access to Justice Initiatives at Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants by transferring $350,000 to the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety for that purpose; and  
  • Promoted public safety and modernized traffic enforcement programs by transferring $50,000 to the Committee on Public Works and Operations to fund self-releasing boots, bringing the total to $900,000 for this program.